HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT No. 1, C. S. A., Jackson, Miss., June 12, 1862.
COMMANDING OFFICER, U. S. N.,
Mississippi River, near Boton Rouge:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose a copy of a letter received by the mayor of Rodney, notifying him in substance that if the vessels of the United States Navy are fired upon by our troops from or near the town vengeance will be taken upon the women and children, or, as the writer is please to term it, "punishment for the offense will be visited upon the town," and this, too, while declaring that "wear not here to war it has been customary among civilized people "to punish the offense" of an attack of the armed forces of one upon those of the other by a combat with the attacking party. It such be made from a town the assaulting party is not entitled to, and so far as our troops are concerned does not claim, any immunity by reason of the presence of women and children. What we do claim, however, and insist upon, is that when your vessels or transports are fired into by our troops able women and children and wreck their vengeance upon them, as was done lately at Grand Gulf by United States vessels din retaliation for an attack with which the town had nothing more to do than had the city of Saint Louis.
My batteries are located at such point upon the river as are deemed best suited for the desired purposes and without reference to or connection with the people of the town. Should the site happen to fall within a village, you of course are at liberty to return the fire. Should it be in the vicinity of one, however, the usages of civilized warfare do not justify its destruction, unless demanded by the necessities of attack or defense.
I cannot bring myself to believe that the barbarous and cowardly policy indicated in the inclosed letter will meet with the approval of any officer of rank to transmit it to you under a flag of truce, with the confident expectation that you will direct those under your command to confine their offensive operations of defenseless towns, filled with unoffending non-combatants, unless required by imperious military necessity. The practice of slaying women and children as an act of retaliation has happily fallen into disuse in this country with the disappearance of the Indian States Navy, but that the demolition and pillage of the unoffending little village of Grand Gulf may be permitted to stand alone and without parallel upon record.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS, Baton Rouge, La., June 14, 1862.
This paper is respectfully referred to the flag-officer, and the officer bearing it is directed to wait till to-morrow morning outside our pickets